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Holidays 2017 Budget $700 Gaming System Build Guide (Page 4)

By Steven Bassiri from Dec 18, 2017 @ 22:16 CST

Setting Up BIOS and OS


Now, it's not 100% necessary to enter the BIOS/UEFI, but I recommend making two changes in the UEFI. While those two changes are to change boot mode and set DRAM speed manually, you can also configure CPU power usage and performance profiles. The UEFI offers many different options as well for configuring everything from PCI-E to Secure Boot.


The UEFI also offers fan customization controls, and you can set up to four SMART fan curve points by changing the PWM2 value to something lower than 100. However, I chose to leave the fan curve on the standard profile, and it proved to be quite good. I would also recommend changing your DRAM speed and timings to whatever your RAM is rated for, by default you only get 2133MHz. We changed the speed to 2400MHz, and we didn't need to change the timings, the motherboard did automatically. Multipliers for DRAM go all the way up to 4133MHz.


By default, our motherboard came with Boot Mode set to Legacy. However, since we are going to use Windows 10 and we don't have any legacy devices, we decided to change Boot Mode to UEFI. There is also a Dual option, but UEFI works for us. We also made a Windows 10 installation USB stick by downloading Microsoft's Media Creation Tool. Please use this tool, it will not only format your USB stick in the proper way, but it will fix any issues you might have with custom installation mediums or ISOs. Just follow along with the prompts, and if you don't have a Windows 10 key you can install the OS without a key, but you will need a key to active Windows 10.


If you have followed instructions to this point, then you should see your blank SATA drive. Just select your drive and hit next. Once you hit next, the OS installation is then automated. Once the OS is installed, you will face many prompts that ask you to do things such as connect to the internet, create a login, and even setup Cortana.


So many people still manually install drivers, and you can download those from the Supermicro product support page. However, the only driver you need is the Intel ME driver, as Windows 10 Automatic Updates will install all your other drivers automatically. The great news here is that you don't need to install your network driver to connect to the internet. The reason is because Windows 10 includes many basic drivers in the installation medium, and the NIC used on this Supermicro motherboard is included in that basic driver set. You can literally boot Windows 10 for the first time and wait about 20-30minutes for the OS to automatically install all drivers, including GPU drivers, you just have to be connected to the internet. However, Intel's ME driver isn't automatically installed, so you will see that the only device without a driver (in Device Manager in the Control Panel) is a PCI Simple Communications Controller, but once you download and manually install the ME driver from the Supermicro website, all drivers will be installed.


I recommend doing two more things before installing programs. The first is to set your PC Power Plan to High Performance and customize how much time elapses until the monitor turns off or the PC goes to sleep. Modern PCs are very power efficient. The second thing I like to do is download CPU-Z and check to make sure my memory increase has taken effect. DRAM frequency in CPUz shows as half the total double data rate (DDR), so 1200MHz is 2400MHz. Our timings also match the XMP table.


Supermicro has a software program called SuperOBooster. We wrote a guide on it here. You can use it to change fan curves in Windows, as well as update the BIOS or monitor system parameters.


Many graphics cards come with GPU overclocking, monitoring, and feature software. Zotac is the brand we used for our GPU and FireStorm is their software for GPU overclocking. We didn't overclock the GPU, but you can if you want. Just increase GPU core and memory clocks 10-20MHz at a time, and if you get instability like driver crashes or blank screens, you can boost voltage and power. Their software also offers an on-screen display (OSD) that shows FPS inside games.

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